Definition of emotive in English:

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Pronunciation: /ɪˈməʊtɪv/


1Arousing or able to arouse intense feeling: animal experimentation is an emotive subject the issue has proved highly emotive
More example sentences
  • Film is an emotive medium, uniquely able to manipulate through lighting and music as well as words.
  • I think I would be too emotional; I couldn't make an objective decision on such an emotive subject.
  • Urgent, thorough debate is needed on this very emotive subject, but the right people must be involved in that debate.
inflammatory, controversial, contentious, emotional;
sensitive, delicate, difficult, problematic, touchy, awkward
1.1Expressing a person’s feelings rather than being neutrally descriptive: the comparisons are emotive rather than analytic
More example sentences
  • At the end of the day, it is entirely up to you whether you buy or rent your home, and this is often an emotive rather than rational decision.
  • Once I have assurances from both authorities I will look at the town as a whole and take a holistic view of the problem, rather than an emotive one.
  • Note how the arguments for a monarchy are couched in emotive rather than rational terms.


The words emotive and emotional share similarities but are not simply interchangeable. Emotive is used to mean ‘arousing intense feeling’, while emotional tends to mean ‘characterized by intense feeling’. Thus an emotive issue is one which is likely to arouse people’s passions, while an emotional response is one which is itself full of passion. In sentences such as we took our emotive farewells the word emotive has been used in a context where emotional would be more appropriate.



Example sentences
  • I believe most individuals will vote emotively on the basis of ‘we must keep ‘our’ pound.’
  • Any opposing opinion is emotively classified as some form of hate.
  • I think that any visual statement has to communicate at multiple levels intellectually and emotively and there is no country with a monopoly in that area.


Pronunciation: /ɪˈməʊtɪvnəs/
Example sentences
  • Given the complexity and the emotiveness of this issue, why didn't they manage to spend three seconds addressing such a crucial point.
  • But there is another side to discourse, a side that may often hide under the torrent of words and rhetoric, appearing only in the emotiveness of the vocabulary we use.
  • To my mind this rational, intellectual debate hasn't happened yet due primarily to the emotiveness of the issue.


Pronunciation: /ˌiːməʊˈtɪvɪti/
Example sentences
  • According to him, the ‘infinite emotivity’ of the collages could only be captured intuitively.


Mid 18th century: from Latin emot- 'moved', from the verb emovere (see emotion).

Words that rhyme with emotive

motive, votive

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: emo|tive

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